Thousands of kilometers, 5 countries, traveled by plane, car and trains - it was an amazing Dalmatian adventure! We wanted to share our personal reviews for all of our intriguing destinations, tours taken, hotels visited, restaurants frequented, and various means of transportation used during our trip!
October 9:We landed at Dubrovnik airport in the afternoon; the very first 2 things we needed to do was to find a shuttle that went straight to Dubrovnik Old Town and an ATM to get cash. The airport is very small and the aforementioned was very easy to find.
Tip: The best way to get to Old Town (in our opinion) is to take a shuttle run by the Atlas company; the cost is about 70 kunas ($11 USD) per person and takes approximately 40 minutes. The shuttle buses come quite frequently and we waited no more than 10-15 minutes to board it. Another alternative was a taxi, however, a taxi would not be that much faster and cost at least twice as much. In our case we needed to go to Pile Gate (one of the gates to Dubrovnik Old Town) and it was the first Atlas bus stop.
Tip: If you don't plan on staying in the vicinity of Old Town, you might or might not need a rental car. It is very difficult to find a parking spot next to Old Town.
Our first accommodation was Miro Aparthotel...
Tip: If you book an aparthotel in Dubrovnik, make sure to ask them where exactly it is located. Their official address is NOT always where you will stay!
Miro Aparthotel has many managed apartments situated around Old Town. Our apartment was right next to the main square in the end of Stradun Street, the main street in the Old Town. It was super clean, had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and could easily accommodate 4-5 people. Two things that should be noted- 1. It is just one block from the main square, so during the night it can be very noisy as there are some restaurants where musicians perform until until midnight. 2. There was no full size mirror (something for the ladies to consider).
Tip: Dubrovnik Old Town is very touristy and there are crowds of people wandering around pretty much from early April through the end of October. If you don't like crowds and/or you are traveling with children, it may be a good idea to stay in Lapad (about 20 minutes by bus or taxi from Old Town); lapad has some lovely beaches so one might be interested in taking a dip in the sea after a long day of sightseeing in Old Town.
Tip: The beaches, specifically the sand, differ greatly from the beaches/sand of the Caribbean. They are mostly comprised of pebbles and rocks so bring your water shoes if you plan going into the water!
The first night we decided to follow the advice of Miro's manager and went to Posat, the restaurant next to Pile Gate. Despite the dishes being more than average (ie carpaccho), I would advise against going to that particular restaurant. They simply overcharged us and misrepresented many of the charges.
Tip: Restaurants are prohibited to bring tap water to clients after it rains as some mud can get into the system. If there are no rains it is absolutely safe to drink tap water.
Also, we recommend using TripAdvisor to select restaurants. After our snafu at Posat, we guided ourselves via the recommendations from past diners and had no further problems. In some places we did however rely on advice from our local tour guides whom we fully trusted and must say, we loved their choices!
October 10: For next 4 days, we hired private tour guides from our partners in Dubrovnik. They are all natives and know every single corner in and out. We enjoyed hav
ing their company and got very valuable tips and advice about Dubrovnik and other surroundings.
During our first day touring Dubrovnik, we went through narrow medieval streets, visited a synagogue, heard various fascinating stories from the time the Romans lived there to the flourishing times of the Dubrovnik Republic that stayed independent for more than 300 years to the time of 1991-95 war in the former Yugoslavia when the Yugoslavian army sieged Dubrovnik for months killing many innocent people, visited Mount Srd with its stunning views of Dubrovnik and drove to Cavtat, founded by the Romans and now remains a sleepy, small sea town with a luxurious feel.
Tip: We found the best ice cream in Croatia in Cavtat.
Tip: If you ever want to have a picnic in Dubrovnik go to the top of Mount Srd. All of Dubrovnik will be at your feet. Also, while in Dubrovnik, one might want to visit the place where Games of Throne was shot.
We took a bus from Pile gate in the evening at went to Lapad. There are some very family friendly hotels and pedestrian zones in this area. While it may not have the uber luxurious feel of some Old Town areas, the surroundings were warm, cozy and safe.
For dinner, we ate at Bueno, a recommendation from one of our tour guides. It is frequented by locals and had pretty good food!